Plain scones

I based this recipe on one that my mother copied out of a catering magazine several decades ago. (She was waiting for a Chinese take-away order at the time.) The magazine called them Park Hyatt Scones. We assume that it was from one of the Australian Park Hyatt hotels, but have never known for sure.

Even my father – who doesn’t bake – makes these scones once every year for his biology students on their honours field trip camp. They take the scones, warm, wrapped in a tea towel, to Remarkable Rocks on Kangaroo Island and eat them as the sun comes up over the sea.

In this recipe, the smallest grating of nutmeg and a little zest of lemon make all the difference. It was probably a memory of these scones that inspired the name of my blog, which I began writing after eating some truly appalling scones in my university halls of residence.

Plain scones

  • 3 and 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 7 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • grated zest of 1 lemon (the original recipe uses lemon essence)
  • 60 grams butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 325 mls milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and rub into the flour. Add the sugar, nutmeg and zest and mix well. Mix together the egg, milk and vanilla essence. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined with a large metal spoon. (The mixture will be quite sticky and a bit lumpy.)

Tip the mixture onto a floured surface and kneed until the dough can be handled. I say kneed, but I really mean press it into the flour a few times. The less you kneed, the lighter the scones. Flatten the dough to 2 cm thick and use a glass or cutter to cut out rounds of dough.  Place on an ungreased baking tray and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Brush the tops with beaten egg if you want them shiny  (I prefer not.) Place in a preheated 220°C oven and bake for 10 minutes. When ready, they will be slightly brown on the bottom and will sound hollow if tapped. Once out of the oven, wrap the scones in a clean tea towel and leave them to steam for 10 minutes.

Needless to say, they are best served with jam and cream.

Park Hyatt Scones

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